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So I want to learn to brew beer. I constantly try new beer, and try to dissect all the flavors involved. The next logical step in my love of beer seems to be trying my hand at brewing. I should specify that while not a chemist, biologist, food scientist, or anything else that would tell me about the science of beer I am a "sciencey" type of person. I like to know all the happenings of what I am doing and I like to perform quasi-controlled experiments when cooking. So what I'd like to do is a) read up on brewing first as much as needed and then b) experiment as much as possible.

I've seen lots of recipes for specific kinds of beers but I want something more than that. I want all the background and to have an idea of how much choices during the brew process will effect end result. So, what should I be reading before I start brewing?

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I recommend reading just enough to learn to brew your first few batches instead of trying to take in all the information at once. And as questions come up while brewing, write them down and devote a great deal of time to researching and answering those questions. As you progress into brewing the application of that knowledge will lead to more questions as you build on the basics. There is always more to learn. But if you feel you need to use the book to brew and go "step by step," keep reading, you aren't ready to make beer yet. Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels, Palmer's How to Brew is decent, but experience and learning from your mistakes and researching the things you aren't certain you understand as you go along is the best way i find. I"m always researching new concepts or looking up something someone asked me and i wasn't sure of and I've been a professional brewer for five years. Keep reading, start brewing, and don't give up. Joining a local homebrew club will be incredibly beneficial as well as long as it contains at least a few skilled brewers willing to share their knowledge.

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  • Designing Great Beers looks awesome. Very much seems to be what I was looking for. Something that tells me what each ingredient does and lets me compare that to real life examples. I have both now and very much look forward to reading them! – Jake Aug 8 '15 at 3:47
  • +1 for just start brewing. That's what I did, and have learned much more from having a brew I want to tweak than just reading it all from the start. And anyways, then you'll have something to drink while you read. – CDspace Aug 9 '15 at 13:12
  • After reading for a while. Im planning on doing a pure malt extract brew here preety quick. – Jake Aug 11 '15 at 5:57
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John Palmer's book "How to Brew" is an excellent place to start and earlier versions are on line for free. It covers all the bases of brewing with quite a bit of technical information. I use this book as a reference tool all the time. If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of the individual components of brewing try the Brewing Element Series from Brewers Publications. "Yeast, The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation" and "Water, A comprehensive Guide for Brewers" Should satisfy your "sciencey" side. To expand your knowledge on the other two components of brewing, malt and hops, get "Malt, A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse"and "Hops, The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops"

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  • I say skip the Element series...not only is it not geared for a beginner, it's hardly even geared to homebrewers. – Denny Conn Aug 7 '15 at 16:25
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As mentioned, How to Brew by John Palmer is a great book that teaches you the basics, but also allows you to dig into some of the details & more technical aspects of brewing.

But don't just read. Listen to The Jamil Show, Brew Strong, Basic Brewing Radio podcasts. They provide a wealth of information.

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there are many good books out there. but it comes down to your intelligence level. my buddy is an idiot. and couldn't understand "The Joy of home brewing" by charlie papazian. so i picked up the nearest thing to a coloring book for him. home brewing for dummies. another great set of books is "yeast", "malt", "hops", "water" but you biggest resource is going to be www.homebrewtalk.com everone over there is amazing!

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  • I find homebrewtalk to be a cesspool of misinformation. I think the AHA discussion forum homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php has far better info and a friendlier atmosphere. Check 'em both and decide for yourself – Denny Conn Aug 7 '15 at 16:26
  • to each there own. there is a lot of misinformation all over the net. but if he starts reading then he'll be able to determine whats wrong and whats not. i have found the AHA to be snootie and the people there kinda like i'm better than you. and i'm not in to that. i want to make great beer and drink it. thats all if i can give information away. that helps someone i will. – Fractional Brewing Aug 7 '15 at 17:20
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    I'm not sure how a brand new brewer would be able to decide what's wrong and what's not. – jalynn2 Aug 7 '15 at 17:22
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My advice is to team up with a friend/parent who loves beer and decide to go for an easy recipe (beer kit). Take baby steps and have fun. My first two batches were extracts, but then we decided to step up and go whole grain (Brew in a bag) and a whole new world opened.

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